The Anti-Choicers’ Fascination With Rape

If pro-choice Americans–or whatever it is we’re supposed to call ourselves–are a bit hung up on the word “choice,” their opponents have a problem with a very different word: rape. Seems lately that every time you turn around some conservative pol is tying himself into knots or nuking his approval ratings by highly nuanced arguments either denying the “legitimacy” of rapes that produce pregnancies, or treating rape-generated pregnancies as the rape victim’s mandatory gift to the world.

So unsurprisingly, as Politico‘s Jake Sherman and Bresnahan report, the GOP’s highly paid consultants are advising Republicans to STFU about rape already:

It’s way past time: House Republicans need to stop talking about rape.

That’s the message GOP lawmakers got here Wednesday evening from Kellyanne Conway, a top GOP pollster.

Conway dispensed the stern advice as part of a polling presentation she made alongside fellow GOP pollsters David Winston — an adviser to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — and Dave Sackett. The comment was described by several sources in the room.

Conway said rape is a “four-letter word,” and Republicans simply need to stop talking about it in their races for office.

This is why Kellyanne pulls down the big bucks.

But she probably understands that there’s a reason for the right-wing obsession over abortion-and-rape, aside from porcine indifference to women’s sensitivities.

Once you decide that women’s bodies instantly become nothing more than incubators for Sovereign Citizens at the moment an ovum is fertilized, then the only logical position is to oppose abortion in all cases other than one where the incubator’s life is so endangered that she can plead self-defense. Pregnancies caused by rape or incest may be horrifying to a lot of people–most notably the victims of rape or incest–but that’s how the metaphysical cookie crumbles, if not a sign that God is a Dude with a rather instrumental view of women.

For many of the same people who believe regulating military weapons is the first step down the slippery slope to Auschwitz, making exceptions to the abortion-is-murder-unless-it’s-self-defense is morally and intellectually intolerable. And so they fret about the possibility that women will escape the necessity of doing their reproductive duty by getting themselves raped or preyed upon by a family member.

This issue is, of course, only the tip of a crazy jagged iceberg. The same folk that oppose interfering with pregnancies caused by rape have a strong tendency to believe tens of millions of Sovereign Citizens of this country are murdered every year via methods of “contraception” that in theory or practice interfere with the growth and the opportunity for eternal salvation of fertilized ova. They don’t tend to talk about that a lot in public (even without Kellyanne Conway’s advice), since the number of “murderers” involved would make a Mafia summit look like an evening at Chuckie Cheese. But that’s the ideology (which so many treat as religious, frequently by way of confusing patriarchal traditions with the Will of God) we are dealing with here.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.